BANGOR, Maine — Tuesday is a big day in Maine and across the country for one legendary folklore hero. It's National Paul Bunyan Day!
Legend has it Bunyan carved out the Grand Canyon with his ax, formed mountains when he wrestled with his sidekick Babe the Blue Ox, and formed the Mississippi River when his container of water sprung a leak.
“Those stories kind of came up in those social aspects of the lumberjack camps in the Maine woods,” Jamie Rice, deputy director of the Maine Historical Society, said.
Bangor Historical Society Curator Matt Bishop told NEWS CENTER Maine Bunyan has deep ties to Maine's logging history.
"I mean, a lot of people rallied behind him for how much lumber they were felling and producing each year,” Bishop said. "Going back to it, [the legend of Paul Bunyan] is about communities taking care of this large child that grew out of his father-sized clothing in just a few weeks. The legends would go on from there, saying Bunyan would travel across the country carving canyons and shaping rivers."
Bishop explained that many communities across the country claim Bunyan as their own.
"That's where it's the funny fights between the different cities as to who is the rightful owner and really where did Bunyan come from," he said.
Bangor is one of those cities that claim Bunyan. It's gone as far as erecting a 31-foot-tall statue of the lumberjack and creating a birth certificate for him in 1959.